India calls satellite 'gift to South Asia', Pakistan says no thanks

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The intended operational life of the satellite is more than 12 years and it cost Rs. 235 crore.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the launch of the South Asian Satellite by India as a "historic moment" and said it opens up new horizons of engagement among the countries of the region.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took three years to build the satellite, which was launched by its reliable Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

He lauded the Isro scientists for the flawless launch of the satellite. The satellite would also provide a significant capability to each participating country in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for disaster information transfer.

In his remarks, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani noted that South Asia was one of the least integrated regions in the world. New Delhi's offer to help in the using of data collected by the satellite as also with setting up the ground infrastructure will enhance India's influence.

Pakistan opted out saying it has itsown space programme.

South Asia satellite GSAT 9 ISRO satellite launch narendra modi

India launched the South Asian telecommunication satellite on board the rocket GSAT-F09 from Sriharikota off the Andhra Pradesh coast at 4.57 pm on Friday, May 5.

Pakistan today termed the launch of South Asian Satellite by India's space agency ISRO as exclusively made by New Delhi and therefore it can not be called a regional project.

An Indian rocket with the over two-tonne South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, meant to address the region's "economic and developmental priorities", blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Friday evening.

Modi said the leaders of the participating countries had joined him in a video conference to mark the launch. With ISRO officials boasting that they can launch a satellite at less than half the price quoted by other nations, India seems well on its way to conquer the final frontier. GSLV-F09 is the eleventh flight of GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage. The satellite is a high-priority factor for India alongside the economic and developmental priorities.

The launch is viewed as a move by India to emphasise its role as the power centre in the region and gain trust from its neighbours at a time when China is making similar inroads.

The benefits of the satellite will be in the areas of mapping of natural resources, tele-medicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links. However, both the requests were rejected by the Modi government as the project was India's "gift" to the SAARC nations.

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